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ABC News (Sydney) -

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Tonight - the Bob Woolmer

case - now it's murder. Mr

Woolmer's death was due to

asphyxia as a result of manual

strangulation. The polls say

Labor. The voters say humbug

and the leaders say, "Trust

me." It is a choice between

service improvements or cuts to

service. If you don't want

Labor back on Sunday morning,

don't vote Labor. And

Australia's baby boom - why

motherhood is the new black.

I turned 30 last year and I

thought, "Time is ticking

along." Good evening. Juanita

Phillips with ABC News. After

days of speculation over the

death of Pakistan cricket coach

Bob Woolmer, there is now confirmation that he was

murdered. Police in Jamaica

say he was strangled to death

and that probably more than one

person was involved. Police

say their investigation will

include gambling and

match-fixing rackets. Late

today, there were reports that

one suspect may already be in

custody. Information about Bob

Woolmer's death had been

trickling out through un

official sources for days, but

the confirmation that he was

murdered was still shocking.

The pathologist's report states

that Mr Woolmer's death was due

to as fix ia as a result of

mange Wal strangulation.

Police say there was no

evidence of forced entry to the

hotel room where Bob Woolmer

was found, but they say it was

likely more than one person was

involved. It would take some

force because Bob was a large

man and therefore it would have

taken some significant force in

which to subdue him and cause

strangulation. But, of course,

we do not know at this stage

how many people were in the

room. The Pakistani team and

staff have been questioned and

fingerprinted. They have now

flown to mon Teague go Bay and

are scheduled to leave Jamaica

on the weekend. The

impression by the media is that

Pakistani is the suspect. That

is not true. We have spoken to

the police, interviewing other

people and continue to do so.

Bob Woolmer died a a daf

Pakistan lost a match to

Ireland, a team they should

have beaten easily. The murder

investigation will look into

the possible involvement of

gambling syndicates. Un

confirmed media reports in

Pakistan say a suspect is being

held who is not a Jamaican

citizen. High-level corruption has scandalised the cricket

world before, but a murder investigation has horrified players, administrators and

fans alike. That is very,

very sad and throws quite a blanket over the World Cup.

The international cricket

Council says the World Cup will

continue. ICC chief Malcolm

Speed says the best thing

players can do is give their

all to the tournament, to prove

they can move on from what has

happened. At least three

people have been killd in a

horrific traffic accident in

Melbourne's main tunnel. It

happened when a truck careered

into a line of stationary

traffic causing a massive

explosion. Several cars were

destroyed by the fireball and

400 people had to be ee vak

waited. Police fear there may

be more bodies in the burnt-out

wreckage. The Burnley Tunnel

is a key link in Melbourne's

road network and the disaster

brought the city's traffic to a

virtual stand still. This is

the devastating result of the

massive pile-up this morning,

burnt vehicles sandwiched

against the walls and even the emergency services shocked by

the extent of the damage.

There are vehicles down there

that are literally balls of

metal. It is a very traumatic

scene. The crash happened

just before 10 this morning.

Smoke pouring from the

ventilation towers signaling a

major emergency in the tunnel

below. Shell-shocked motoristed described how

vehicles collided into a broken

down truck. Around 1.5km from

the eastern exit. There was a

traffic in -- truck in front

of me broken down in the left

lane. I've come to a stop.

I've looked in my rear vision

mirror, saw a bloke come around

me, he couldn't stop and

cleaned up all the cars in

front of him. About 8 cars

back from the explosion, so saw

the big balls of flame s from

floor to ceiling and then we

did what we were told to do and

that was evacuate. For the

truck driver whose rig broke

down, the disaster was too much

to bear. Emergency crews

rushed to the scene, evacuating

around 400 motorists to safety.

If you witnessed the

accident, please go down to the

front on the right. If you

need medical help, please go up

to the ambulance. A police

chaplain sent to assist those

struggling to come to terms

with the disaster. Allowing

people to ventilate their

feelings. Some people could be

angry or tremendously upset.

They are all traumatised by it.

Security camera images showed

how the stringler system

activated immediately after the

blaze broke out. Officials

were pleased with the rapid

emergency response and the fact

that no-one suffered smoke

inhalation. It is quite an

horrific scene down there, but

the positive is we could have

had many, many more people injured or hurt in such an

incident. We regret we have

to mobilise those plans, but

today we see the proof that they do work. The State

Coroner is investigating the

encouraging any witnesss to accident and police are

contact them. Now if you

believe the opinion polls,

tomorrow's State election has

already been won. The major

metropolitan newspapers are

both predicting an easy Labor

victory, even though voters are

far from happy with them.

State political reporter Simon

Santow joins me now. Simon,

what are the two main leaders

saying today? Morris Iemma has

a very simple message to

voters. He is saying give him

the chance, the time to put his

program of service improvement

into action. He has also

coupled that with a negative

message which is Peter Debnam

is just too risky a

proposition. The Opposition

Leader is also going negative.

He is saying that it's not

voting for him, but about

voting against Labor. This is

how the last full day of the

campaign unfolded. Peter

Debnam made water the big issue

early in his campaign. Today

he brought it full circle,

taking the media to Kurnell to

again argue for recycling and

against desalination . If you

don't want Labor back on Sunday

morning, don't vote Labor. The

Liberal Leader says he is not

nervous and believes he can

still win, but the latest

polling indicates otherwise.

ACNielsen in the 'Sydney

Morning Herald' gives Labor 56%

of the two-party preferred

vote. Exactly the same as at

the last election. In the

'Daily Telegraph', Galaxy has

the Liberal-national Coalition

in slightly better shape but

still 6 points behind. There

is bad news for both party

leaders with voters express

pressing strong disapproval of

the job they're doing. Peter

Debnam puts it down to

overwhelming negative

advertising. This has been a

filthy gutter campaign by

Morris Iemma. The Premier

says he is motivated to win

over the doubters. I've been

encouraged by the support I've

received from the people. It

has come with a clear message,

one that I've heard loud and

clear. They want the services

the Government provides,

improved, but I've been

energiesed by the support.

Labor was pushing education and

training in the final hours of

the campaign. Both leaders

made rare appearances in

suburban streets. Morris Iemma

in the marginal seat of Camden.

Good luck. Peter Debnam had

plenty of support on land as he

ventured into Frank Sartor's

Rockdale electorate.


. Analysts are expecting a

strong anti- major party vote

with sitting independents

sitting pretty. The key thing

about independents is people

will vote for them if they know

who they are. Antony Green

puts voter apathy down to a

lack-lustre campaign. The

Prime Minister says you can't

fatten a pig on market day. It

looks like it will be a rather

thin pig let on election night.

Voters won't be giving the

Government unat the timer --

un fettered power. Simon,

given that the Government is so

unpopular, they must have done

something right in the campaign

to be looking at winning.

Really they have stuck to the

simple slogan that there is

more to do but heading in the

right direction, and what that

does is distance themselves

from Bob Carr and his reign

that ended 18 months ago. You

will remember that Bob Carr was

in charge for 10 years. Things

went right for a lot of that

time but beginning to get off

the rails, so when Morris Iemma

took over, he would like to think that the man tell had

been passed to him and there

was no need to punish Labor any

further. What will happen to

Peter Debnam if the Liberals do

as badly as expected. It will

depend on the size of the loss

tomorrow night. We do know

there was one other contender

when John Brogden quit and that

was Barry oh far rel and Peter

Debnam beat him, so Barry

O'Farrell is really the only

credible alternative. The

$64,000 question if the loss is

big enough, will Barry

O'Farrell step up to the plate.

And 'New South Wales Votes

2007' gets under way at 6

tomorrow night. 5.30 in Broken

Hill. There will be full

coverage on ABC Local Radio and

online. Another federal

Liberal senator has broken

Parliament ease disclosure

rules. The newly promoted parliamentary secretary Brett

Mason has been carpeted by the

Prime Minister for failing to

declare investments in four

managed funds, but unlike Santo

Santoro, he won't be sacked.

The new Parliamentary Secretary

for health is one of dozens of

MPs and senators who have

rushed to update their register

of interest since the Santoro

share fiasco. Senator Brett

Mason, another Queensland

Liberal, has now revealed he

has undis closed investments in

managed funds, dating back 18

months, something he didn't

tell the Prime Minister before

his promotion. I asked the

question, "Have you got any

undisclosed shares?" The answer

was no. It was an oversight I sincerely regret. John Howard

is angry, but won't sack him.

He should have declared them,

yes, and he didn't .

Opposition was in Newcastle

continuing his push for a

national broadband network,

paid for in part by dipping

into the future fun, an idea

that has alarmed the chairman

of the fund, David Murray.

The model that gives the fund's

best chance of maximising

returns is to have money come

from, money not go out. Labor frontbencher Stephen Conroy tried to take the argument up

to the Government. They've

had more positions than the

karma suit tra. Only to have

his press conference

gatecrashed by Bill Heffernan.

The broadband plan is about

creating a joint venture

vehicle which will generate

returns, which will generate

income for the Future Fund.

You are pulling everyone's leg.

Labor's broadband plan will

be up for discussion at the

party's conference next month,

so will uranium policy, and a

growing number of past ALP

champions of the party's ban on

new uranium mines are now ready

to dump it, including Labor's

Senate leader Chris Evans. I

think the policy has outlived

its usefulness. It hasn't

worked. It won't work. And

he says Labor has got to

change. Staff from the

Australian embassy in Zimbabwe

have helped a seriously injured

Opposition activist to leave

the country. Sekai Holland is

now on his way to get urgent

medical treatment in

neighbouring South Africa.

Diplomatic officials escorted

him to the airport in Harare

after a previous attempt to

leave the country was blocked

by police. Sekai Holland was

airlifted to Johannesburg with

her husband, Jim and fellow

activist quing quing quing

after being Grace Kwinje.

They smashed her face, broke

her glasses, ripped her

earrings out of her ears and

insulted her and beating her

all over her body with a

variety of weapons. Jim

Holland says his wife has a

broken arm, leg and fractured

knee cap. Alexander Downer

concedes Australian embassy

staff could be expelled from

Zimbabwe for helping the women.

Our embassy in Harare and

High commission in South Africa

had done exactly the right

thing in standing up for human

they've done. The Federal rights and I'm proud of the job

Government has channeled

$82,000 to a non-government

organisation in the country.

To assist them with medical

care and treatment and

counseling. Mr Downer says

Australian diplomats will

continue to lobby other African

nations against Robert Mugabe.

While the Prime Minister John

Howard says he has run out of

patience with Mugabe. I think

it's time that the neighbour

ing African countries,

particularly South Africa

exerted political pressure on

Mugabe to go. As Mugabe's

Government faces increasingly

difficult criticism. The

country plans to hold talks with Cricket Australia after

the World Cup to discuss

abandoning the tour. British

police have arrested three men

over the London bombings two

years ago. The four bombers

all died and until today no-one

has been arrested. More than

50 people died in the terror

attacks. All of those picked

up today have connections to

the bombers and police believe

they had a role in planning the

tragedy. At Manchester

Airport in north-west England,

two men were arrested as they

were about to board a flight to

Pakistan. A third was detaind

in the Northern city of Leeds

where three out of the four

bombers came from. The

Metropolitan Police in Leeds

are on this inquiry. It relating directly to the

bombings in 2005, England.

From our point of view, we are

assisting them, particularly in

relation to the addresses that

are being searched. The men

were trance fered to police

custody in London. They have

been held on suspicion of

instigating act s of terrorism.

As the investigation continues,

police also seized computers

from an East London law college

and searched a nearby

apartment. To months after the

carnage of 7 July, Britain's

most ex-pen sieve investigation

continued out of the spotlight.

This may be the first

breakthrough. The four British

suicide bombers detonated bombs

on three underground trains and

a bus. Police always believed

others were involved in

planning the attacks. What I

think will be interesting is

that we've got to bear in mind

that it is only arrest at this

stage - nobody has actually

been charged - will be to find

out whether these cells are

operating either in an insue

lar capacity where they are self-sufficient, or whether

there is a far greater network within this country that is

supporting them. A

parliamentary report released

last year said two of the

Bombers who made video messages

before they died, were likely

to have contact with al-Qaeda

members in Pakistan. It was a

case of welcome to Baghdad for

the UN chief Ban Ki-Moon today.

It was his first visit to the

Iraqi capital since taking over

the United Nations in January.

He was in I a live televised

news conference when this

happened. EXPLOSION. Mr Ban

Flynn vened and ducked, but the

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri

al-Maliki ploughed on and the

Secretary-General quickly

recovered his composure. The

big bang was made by a rocket

or mortar landing only 100m

from the building in Baghdad's

green zone. Tonight's top

story - police in Jamaica are

now treating the death of Bob

Woolmer as murder. Still to

come - Tasmania celebrate ing a

big win over the Blues in the

domestic cricket final. If

you've noticed a lot of babies

and pregnant women around

lately, are you not imagining

things. It is Australia's

biggest baby boom in 25 years.

The latest figures suggest that

Australians are feel ing more

therefore more confident about financially secure and

starting a family. These

parents are among those

responsible for the latest baby

boom, celebrating their off

springs' 6 month milestone.

Cheers! In the six months to

September last year, 135,000

babies were born in Australia,

the highest figure in a quarter

of a century. Good economic

times and the size of the baby

bonus have contributed to the

higher birth rate. When

people are optimistic about

their financial situation and

believe they can survive on one

income, then it's obviously

going to be a good time to have

a child. Feeling financially

secure played a big part in the

births of some of these

children. Certainly we wanted

to make sure we were reasonably

comfortable and we were happy

to have the child at that time.

Being able to take a whole

year off, I suppose, is any

woman's dream. For others, it

is less about money and more

about the biological clock. I

turned 30 last year and I

thought, "Time is ticking

along." With more women taking

time out from the workforce to

have children and more skilled

jobs on offer, migration levels

have now hit a 17-year high.

The growing population is good

news for the housing and retail

sectors, but not for those

trying to find childcare

places. I'm registered with

about 10, 12 different

childcare places and I haven't

been accepted into any of them

yet. Because I was going to

go back to work and now have

decided not to because the

childcare I get is so

expensive. And it's likely to

be an ongoing problem with no

signs that Australia's birth

rate is slowing down. The

private equity bid to take over

Qantas has suffered a serious

blow. A major shareholder in

the airline has rejected the

$5.45 a share offer as too low.

Balanced Equity Management

holds about 4% of Qantas shares

and the private equity bid

needs 90% to force a complete

takeover. The group bidding

for Qantas has so far got

agreement for less than 30% of

the shares . It has extended

the deadline for acceptance by

two weeks until 20 April. A

big fall in the Qantas share

price today dragged the share

market lower. Alan Kohler has

the details. The Qantas share

price fell 3% after Balanced

Equity declared its hand

against the takeover offer,

Balanced Equity owns 4% of

Qantas and another grumpy

shareholder that hasn't

entirely declared, UBS, owns

6.5%. Together their 10.5%

will be enough to scuttle the

offer and a lot of hedge funds

are in Qantas now just to

accept the takeover, so you

would expect them to jam the

exits and the price to fall 10%

or so, but that hasn't exactly

happened yet. Maybe Monday.

Other falls included Woolworths

and BHP Billiton today.

Telstra rose 1%. The market

was steady overnight holding on

the previous gains. The big

movement on commodity overnight

was oil which jumped 3.5%,

while copper, met nickel and

zinc all went up. Japanese

shares went up a bit and Singapore fell. Speaking of

Japan, tonight's graph shows

the percentage change in the

price of land in Japan's three

biggest cities - Tokyo,

Yokahama and Osaka. It's

interesting because in 1988

land in those cities formed one

of the greatest bubbles in the

history of world commerce.

Then it had one of the greatest

crashes of all time and caused

a 15-year depression in Japan.

Values are now rising again for

the first time in 15 years,

perhaps the best sign yet that

Japan is on the way back. The

Australian dollar is almost

exactly steady against the US

dollar, but has continued to

rise against the yen and the

pound. I will be back on

Sunday at 10am with 'Inside

Business'. That's finance.

There is further evidence

tonight of involvement in

illegal drugs by members of the

West Coast Eagles AFL Club. Ben Cousins has already

admitted he has a problem. Now

is has emerged that another

player, Daniel Kerr, has been

secretly taped by police in

conversation with a convicted

drug dealer. Kerr was recorded

four years ago, discussing his

use of a powerful sedative

which he said turned everything

weird and made him forget where

he was. This report from Paul

Kennedy. The police operation

called Remuda trapped the phone

calls of drug trafficker Shane

Waters. Police heard the

voices of three well-known

sportsmen - Daniel Kerr. Aaron

he had cards now with the

Kangaroos and basketballer

James Harvey. The discs

obtained by the ABC suggest

Kerr had bought ketamine, a

powerful horse sedative from

the deal er in 2003.

He has done well. Daniel

Kerr has done well. Good

little fella. There is

another suggestion he carried

the drug back to Perth aboard a

flight. Apparently there were

board members at the airport

when he got there. Ben

Cousins is referred to in the

phone taps, but isn't referred

to directly. Later Kerr

talks about how he suffered

from the drug. Just turned

weird like I basically forgot

where I was. James Harvey is

heard talking about abusing

ecstasy. One flipper every

hour on the hour for 10 hours.

Just wasting your money,

mate. A former investigator

for the AFL Rick Lewis said he

mentioned the speculation about

the phone taps and the West

Coast Eagles to Andrew

Demetriou in a very brief

conversation several years ago.

He said he offered to fly to Perth to investigate the

matter, but was turned down.

REPORTER: Is it true that Rick

Lewis told you in 2002 that

there were phone taps of Eagles

buying drugs. ? No. You were

never told? No. So is Rick

lying Don't know. You have to

ask Rick. Shane Waters was jailed last year for

trafficking drugs to an

undercover policeman after an

arrest arising from Operation

Remuda. Victoria Police said

it did not question the players

because the operation was aimed

at convicting major drug

traffickers. It has taken 25

seasons, but tonight Tasmania

is celebrating its first win in

the interstate first class

cricket competition after thrashing New South Wales in

the final. The Tigers made

short work of the Blue's second

innings. Dament Wright and Ben

Hilfenhaus shared the spoils. Tasmanian cricket hadn't

witnessed such scenes. Indeed,

these were rare moments for

Tasmanian sport in general.

The Apple Isle tasted the

fruits of victory and the

world's toughest domestic

cricket competition. The

unbridled passion with which

the Tigers played this season

translated into a wave of

celebrations which will last

well beyond the weekend. We

have a tremendous bunch of guys

together and we played bloody

well in this match. After

four tilts at first class final

glory, today's proceedings were

a formality, though few would

have pre- dicted the rapid fire

capitulation. The Blues'

innings lasted just 35 overs.

After entering the competition

in 1982 a Tasmanian team with

names such as Boon, Ponting and

Cox had collected the best

prize. Lou Vincent escaped to

make 1 01 as New Zealand bludge

onned its biggest World Cup

total of 5/363. Brendon

McCullum's footnote to the

innings was the quickest ever

Cup shaf-century off just 20

balls. Tasmania a Canada's

chase fell. The on-field

spotlight moves to the leading

nations. Australia is still

not certain about Andrew

Symonds' return. Throwing the

ball a lot harder today than he

did yesterday which is a very

positive sign for us and what

we're going to do is give him

as long as he needs or wants.

Two Australians face off in the

crucial India-Sri Lanka match.

The Greg Chappell-coached India

must win or face an ignominious

exit. It's not about India,

it's about Sri Lanka and about

what we can take out of this

game. The pleasantries will be

forgotten when the Socceroos

play China as part of their

Asian Cup build-up.

Australia's gold-cannabising

combination features the unique

pairing of two players from the

same club, Middlesborough where

Mark Schwarzer has been a

guiding light for his heir

apparent Brad Jones.

Hopefully I can learn a little

bit more. The match is in

Guango Jo tomorrow evening

Australian time. The New South

Wales Waratahs trail the Blues

17-6 at half-time in Auckland.

The Waratahs are aiming to end

an winless run which traces

back to round one. Time to

check the weekend weather with

Mike Bailey. The weekend is

shaping as a tale of two

seasons, summer for most

districts at the zbibing, but a

sharply cooler change will

bring autumn to all by week's


The change has been moving

into the very south western parts of New South Wales and it

will spread through the State

generally tomorrow. That cloud

band has produced 16mm of rain

in the 6 hours to 3 this

afternoon into Adelaide. And

across New South Wales, just a

little cloud, but the loop is

showing that has the day has

progressed, that change has

been slowly move ing towards

the western border and we see

it link with a trough and move

through the State. That means

most districts can look forward

to some rain in the next 24

hours. It will move gradually

to the north-east. Showers and

thunderstorms are the order of

the day for the south-east of

the continent tomorrow and also

for Darwin. Perth should be


Before we go, another look

at tonight's top story.

Jamaican police have confirmed

that Pakistan cricket coach Bob

Woolmer was murdered and there

are reports tonight that they

have arrested a suspect.

Police phone taps have

implicated Eagles player Daniel

Kerr in drug-taking, the

revelation coming only days

after team captain Ben Cousins

was dumped for drug use.

That's ABC News for this

Friday. Stateline is up next.

Quentin Dempster will have a

full preview of the State

election. He will also be on

the team for tomorrow night's

election coverage along with

Kerry O'Brien and Antony Green.

This week, the last stand in the the final week of the

battle. If you were the

managing director of a company,

wouldn't the shareholders be

entitled to move for your

dismissal. ? They will make

that judgment tomorrow. It

started with Stateline's one

and only debate. It seen the

Premier washing his hands of

the Carr years and his opponent

diving in the opinion polls,

but insisting he is still in

with a chance. Welcome to

Stateline New South Wales. I'm

Quentin Dempster. It ends as

it began - a double negative

for a State election, and awful

choice between which party the

voters dislike the least.

Don't vote Labor, don't risk

Debnam. The negative ad